Camping with Kids

10 Things Every Parent Should Know

  • Author: Tien Pham
  • Date Posted: 18 November 2021

10 Things Every Parent Should Know Before Going Camping with Kids

Camping is the quintessential Australian pastime, and for a good reason. According to Australasian Leisure Management, new data show camping trips are among one of the popular options to experience the Australian great outdoors [1]. I grew up loving the outdoors and when I had kids, there was no reason not to enjoy the Australian outdoors with them. But in saying that, the thought of taking my two beautiful children both under five for the first time gave me anxiety. But I soon found out (after trial and error) that as long as you have the right equipment, then everyone will have a great time. Below are 10 things that I guarantee you will need to know before going on a camping trip with kids.

1. Kids' Clothing and Outdoor Gear

Our first camping trip with the kids was a disaster. We brought just a mattress and blanket, thinking that cuddling would keep us warm. Boy, were we wrong. When the weather dropped, it was uncomfortable. The weather shouldn’t hinder the camping experience, therefore, it’s important to invest in the proper gear when camping with kids. It was only after the second trip we invested in thermals and quality sleeping bags for them. Thermals not only keep you warm, but they’re also super comfortable. I own several pairs, so I’ll never run out.

2. First Aid Kit and Snake Bite Kit

The great outdoors is beautiful and has an abundance of things to see and do, but going camping with kids can also be dangerous, so you need to be prepared. There are some things I always think about, such as what if the kids get injured, but the most important thing is what if they get bitten by a snake? Therefore, my night bag contains a first aid kit, which I’ve secured in a waterproof first aid bag, and one snake bite kit.

3. Rechargeable Lighting

It’s imperative to have adequate lighting nearby because some kids wake up during the night for different reasons. Getting a reliable rechargeable headlamp is a worthwhile investment. Headlamps are super convenient and allow you to have free hands to take care of your child.

4. Camping Toiletry Bag

It’s amazing how many times we look for something and it isn't there; especially when we have a needy child. Even at home, you can experience this, so imagine what it’s like when you’re on a camping trip. A camping trip would be incomplete without some toiletry items; having them in one bag simplifies life. Ideally, the toiletry bag could hang from something for convenience.

5. Cooking Utensils

A memorable camping trip involves a good meal, especially by the fire, so please don't compromise on cooking utensils. I prefer great sets of cooking utensils that are collapsible. Collapsible items are popular in the camping community because the items are easy to clean and store.

6. Hands and Feet Station

Kids can get super dirty, so making sure they’re clean can be a full-time chore on its own; therefore, providing them with a station to wash their hands and feet is the best idea ever. Thanks to our hands and feet station, my kids four and five can wash their hands without me helping them. If you have a jug handy with a spout attached to it - this is a perfect option but if you don’t, then a collapsible water carrier is even better. I love my collapsible items; they’re so convenient, easy to store and easy to clean.

7. Entertainment

No matter how old your kids are, every camping trip requires entertainment. Just like at home, all kids want to exert their energy somewhere and somehow and if they can’t, then they end up in front of the screen. Excessive screen time can have detrimental effects on kids, so invest in a ninja outdoor kit. I also find just using a few metre climbing rope as a line to hang the different equipment on is ideal; you can use it to hang swings, gym rings, climbing monkey bars, etc. In addition, you can grab them a bunch of tennis balls and a racket. Otherwise, if you only have one kid, then grab some balls and a bucket for them to throw the balls in. While camping by a stream, let the kids play in the water so that they’ll enjoy the experience more.Playing in streams with a steady current is enjoyable for kids; however, rivers and streams can be dangerous as well, especially with rocks and foreign objects floating around, so make sure your kids wear water shoes. 

8. Medication

In hot weather, mosquitoes can be a nuisance, so parents need to carry insect repellent when their children are around. Bushman insect repellent is my favourite spray. It contains the DEET formula which deters annoying insects from biting you. Also, sometimes reactions can occur from insect bites, so bring along antihistamine and panadol; cough medicine also comes in handy for those days/nights where coughing occurs. Having these items saved me headaches in the long run and you’ll feel more in control when the essential medications or insect sprays are available.

9. Powerbank

Screen time is a popular topic among parents these days. Screen time can be a problem, but as parents, we need to manage it as best as we can. When kids are getting exposed to screen time at home, they can’t turn their screens off like adults when they go camping. They’ll end up hating the whole camping trip if they don’t get screen time. Because of this, my kids enjoy a little screen time while camping. To make sure all of our devices get charged, I always bring a high-quality power bank. It’s a significant investment, especially if you plan on camping for a couple of days.

10. Kids Camp Furniture

Sometimes it’s difficult for parents to keep their kids happy and comfortable. If you come prepared with the right equipment and items, then you’ll certainly be able to please any child. On all our camping trips, I bring the kid’s furniture along with us. While it may seem annoying, especially when there’s limited space in the car or trailer, trust me; you need to make room for the kid’s items. Just like us, kids need downtime, therefore, it is important to invest in comfortable tables and chairs for them. These days, you’ll also find that kids' camping tables and chairs are compact and don’t take up much space.


Source: [1]. Australasian Leisure Management 2018, Australian caravan and camping nights reach record high, ecord-numbers/

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